There's a plethora of hot startups coming out of this part of the country, and they have some things their counterparts in Silicon Valley don't: Some homegrown hospitality, lower over head/cost of living/small business taxes, and a little extra heart. If you're a fellow entrepreneur, investor or looking for a job in an up and coming startup, it's time to expand your horizon to the landlocked states.
Check out these hot Midwestern startups and what they have on deck for 2015. From technology to retail and everything in between, there's no geographical boundaries when it comes to small business. After all, why give up the country's best barbeque just to have your American dream come true?
1. Duo Security
Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, this company offers cloud-based two-step authentication and already has more than 4,000 clients. This includes some of the biggest, most security-minded organizations around the world. Featuring patented technology, it takes less than 30 minutes to get Duo Security installed and running, but the startup is about more than innovation. It actually makes cyber security fun. Dug Song, CEO and co-founder, says, "We're focused on fostering a culture of creativity, fun and the sort of playful cleverness here in Ann Arbor that attracts people to us."
This Kansas City start up is a contemporary woodworking company offering the freshest designs and aesthetics for clients around the world. They prioritize commitment and honesty, standard Midwestern values, with a strong focus on the customer and communication. It's not enough to provide the best in handcrafted goods, but they're also all about made in the USA--and there's an abundance of heart and soul in each artist they hire. They work with sustainable sources (such as bamboo), only believe in eco-harvesting, and give back by planting trees for every 100 hats that are sold.
Coming out of Cincinnati, this is the ultimate road trip planning resource that focuses 100 percent on road travel. Most trip planning services are all about air travel, but with the influx of ride sharing and hybrids, it's about time a road trip revival was made. The features work with iOS and Android, tapping into Google Maps for directions. Get instant insights into where to stop on trips from the best beaches to the weirdest attractions.
There's a big issue with software for employee training: They're costly, hard to figure out or just don't work all that great. That's why Max Yoder founded this Indianapolis-based startup in 2012. The goal? Better, easier corporate training software that the masses could utilize. He says, "If we can make it easy and affordable for companies to build, distribute and measure the effectiveness of their learning materials, we can do something really special." Indeed they are, with revenues growing 35 percent each month.
Forget Murphy's Law--how about Murfie's law for all those music fans out there? Founded in Madison, Wisconsin by Matt Younkle and Preston Austin, this startup launched in 2011 in an effort to bring digital and physical music worlds together. You get a prepaid kit to instantly tip CDs as well as a cloud account to download or stream your music. Want to ditch your physical music for good? Murfie has a marketplace to make it happen.